Unlock the potential

Tracy BlencoweCharlotte Parkinson of Modern Law Magazine spoke to Tracy Blencowe (pictured), Business Solutions Director at Eclipse Legal Systems to find out how law firms can use big data to change their practice.

As the face of the legal industry continues to develop, many law firms are beginning to explore new drivers of efficiency. Big data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. Either the data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit within the confines of a basic system. While the possibilities that surround effectively managing big data may be on the radar for some law firms, the question is how these law firms and others in the sector can best go about not only extracting information from data but how they can use it effectively for business development and marketing purposes.

So, how can and should successfully using this data help streamline legal practices and ultimately, drive efficiency? Harnessing and exploiting the data law firms already possesses could unlock a myriad of previously undiscovered opportunities. Utilising historic data, in particular, could help firms predict current case outcomes and map specific patterns for future case work. In order to set about doing this, it is vital that a fully integrated case management system is implemented. Software solutions which automate and streamline day to day processes are invaluable, as the time of highly-trained and costly lawyers can be freed. This type of software could also reduce the amount of time wasted by the whole firm, as they do not have to trawl through raw data.

Whilst the legal industry may be slow in realising how embracing data capture and consolidation methods could benefit their firms, the sector is beginning to awaken to possible benefits. Not only could effectively managing and consolidating data help save the precious time of lawyers, it can also provide new opportunities for IT-literate lawyers and technical professionals to take up new positions within practices. Big data is also creating new business channels for law firms and new practice areas, which focus on how the firms can best apply and make use of this data within the firm, making day to day operations easier for all aspects of the firm. Marketing could also be made easier and, with the correct practice management system, marketing can be targeted towards specific demographics, based on solid and factual evidence.

Ultimately, the potential savings (in terms of time and money) from full and proper understanding of big data are huge and those firms who don’t recognise this will eventually fall behind. The data is there, now is the time to unlock the opportunity.

Tracy Blencowe, Business Solutions Director at Eclipse Legal Systems comments:

“In capturing client and matter data in their case and practice management systems, many law firms are sitting on a huge and untapped business development tool. I’ve lost count of the number of law firms I see that are investing in disparate CRM software and effectively going about duplicating the volumes of data already held in their CMS and PMS systems. Smarter firms are stepping back, taking a look at the incredibly valuable information already held, and implementing ways to leverage this for business development and marketing needs. The investment in the software has already been made, and the data is already there… now just focus on how to use it!”